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A blog by your local public health experts

 

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Make the Healthy Choice the Right Choice

Health Promotion Coordinator Shelley Wallace
by Shelley Wallace08/08/2018 12:14 p.m.
Updated: 08/08/2018

When I was a kid growing up in rural British Columbia, one of our favorite things to do was to play on a big old pile of dirt. We would build cities, roads, and tunnels. Once my brother jumped off the top with an umbrella hoping to fly. But mostly, it was great fun to ride our bikes up and over and catch a little air.

Last year, Key Pen Parks—with our support—built a pump track for cyclists at 360 Trails. A pump has berms (ridges), banked turns, and other features designed so cyclists can "pump." In other words, they create momentum by up and down body movements. This track is great for building abilities and preparing cyclists for the local pump trail, which like it sounds, requires similar movements but is longer, more difficult, and even more enjoyable.Berms and paths at the pump track at Key Pen Parks' 360 Trail

Key Pen Parks built a pump track last year at 360 Trails. Cyclists can learn new skills while they speed over the ridges and through the turns.

What’s great about a pump track is you learn new skills, get a full body workout, and have a lot of fun doing it.

Actions speak louder than words.

It’s no secret regular exercise is good for you. So why do fewer than 20% of youth in Pierce County get enough physical activity? Maybe they need someone to tell them what the recommendations are!

Information is a good thing. But, it often takes more than knowledge for us to change our habits. Think about it: Do I really need to tell you that you should get up from your desk and get some exercise? A different approach would probably be more effective.

Regular exercise: How you can build a healthy habit.

Our work in the Physical Activity, Nutrition and Tobacco Prevention Program focuses on policy, systems, and environmental changes. These are lasting changes that go beyond an event or program. Here are some examples:

  • Policy—An after-school program passes a policy that bans tobacco products on school grounds.
  • Systems—A childcare facility imbeds employee wellness into their employment processes and trains staff to refer families to health and wellness resources.
  • Environment—A street in your neighborhood gets new sidewalks, street lights, or crosswalks so you and your neighbors can enjoy a safer and more pleasant walk to the store, park, or school.

When the healthy choice is easy, people will more likely have no problem doing what’s good for them. It also helps when the healthy choice is fun. Whether your idea of fun is a mound of dirt, a pump track, or something else, enjoy what you do and stay active.

Health Promotion Coordinator Shelley Wallace

by Shelley Wallace

Shelley promotes good health through physical activity, good nutrition, and tobacco and chronic disease prevention.